Can you buy music through iTunes anymore?

The iTunes Store revolutionized the music industry when it launched in 2003. Developed by Apple, iTunes provided a legal and convenient way for users to purchase digital music online (The iTunes Store PowerPoint Presentation). At the time, illegal peer-to-peer file sharing services like Napster dominated digital music distribution. The iTunes Store helped combat piracy by offering an affordable and user-friendly alternative.

Within its first week, the iTunes Store sold over 1 million songs. By April 2008, over 4 billion songs had been sold. The iTunes Store expanded to include TV shows, movies, apps, and books. It played a pivotal role in transforming the music industry in the digital age (iTunes Ubuntu).

The Decline of iTunes

iTunes dominated music sales in the early 2000s, allowing customers to purchase and download digital music files to own. However, the emergence of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music led to a decline in music sales on iTunes. Streaming allowed access to vast catalogs of music through paid subscriptions rather than needing to purchase individual songs or albums. According to a 2021 economic analysis, streaming caused significant displacement of album and song ownership sales on iTunes in the early 2000s as consumers shifted to access models rather than ownership [1]. Revenues from downloads and digital sales on iTunes dropped by 20% from 2015 to 2019.

The iTunes Store Today

The iTunes Store remains in operation today and continues to offer a wide selection of content for purchase and download. On the iTunes Store, you can still buy and download music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and more. The store stocks over 75 million songs and serves customers in over 150 countries.

Some of the key offerings on the iTunes Store today include:

  • Music – Over 75 million songs from major and independent record labels. Genres include pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, country, classical, and more.
  • Movies – Thousands of Hollywood blockbusters, comedies, dramas, documentaries, and more. Movies can be purchased or rented in resolutions up to 4K HDR.
  • TV Shows – Current shows and full seasons available for purchase the day after airing. Genres include drama, comedy, reality TV, kids shows, and more.
  • Audiobooks – Bestselling novels, memoirs, and non-fiction titles read by professional narrators.
  • Apps – Paid apps for iOS devices and Mac computers.
  • Podcasts – Top podcasts with both free and paid subscription options.

While iTunes revolutionized the music industry in the early 2000s, the iTunes Store remains the world’s largest music retailer today. It continues to be a popular destination for purchasing digital entertainment content across various formats and genres.

Music Purchases

Yes, you can still purchase music on iTunes today. The iTunes store offers over 75 million songs available for download in formats like MP3, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless, and more. Songs are available for purchase individually or as full albums. Prices for individual songs typically range from $0.69 to $1.29, with entire albums costing between $7-15 on average. Some advantages of buying music on iTunes include high-quality audio files, ability to download on multiple devices, access anytime, and several purchase options like singles, EPs, albums etc. According to recent reports, iTunes accounted for over 75% of all music download sales, showing it remains a popular destination for purchasing digital music.

Other Purchases

In addition to music, the iTunes Store offers a wide variety of other media you can purchase, including movies, TV shows, apps, and books.

The iTunes Store has an extensive collection of movies and TV shows to buy or rent. You can find major studio releases as well as independent films. TV shows are available for purchase by the episode or by the season. So if you have an iTunes Gift Card, you can use it to buy your favorite movies and TV shows.

Another popular iTunes Store purchase is apps. The App Store has over 2 million iOS apps covering every category imaginable. You can use an iTunes Gift Card to purchase apps, games, and in-app purchases. This makes iTunes Gift Cards a great gift idea for app lovers.

For bookworms, you can use an iTunes Gift Card to purchase ebooks and audiobooks on Apple Books. Apple Books has an extensive catalog with bestsellers, new releases, and classics. So you can stock up on reading materials using your iTunes credit.

In summary, while iTunes is best known for music, you can use iTunes Gift Cards to purchase all kinds of entertainment media on the iTunes Store, including movies, TV shows, apps, and books (source). This makes them great for all kinds of digital media fans.

Pros of Buying

Purchasing music, whether on vinyl, CD, or through digital downloads, offers some key advantages compared to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music:

You actually own the music when you buy it. With streaming services, you are essentially renting access to the music catalog and don’t truly own any of the songs. If you cancel your subscription, you lose access.

Higher sound quality, especially with physical formats like vinyl and CD. The bitrates used by streaming services compress the audio to save bandwidth, reducing quality. Vinyl and CDs contain uncompressed audio.

Ability to listen offline. Once you’ve purchased a song or album, you can listen anytime without an internet connection. Streaming requires a constant connection.

Supports artists more. Streaming services pay out tiny per-stream royalties, while each music purchase provides more tangible support. Buying an album or merch is one of the best ways to support an artist.[See more](

Cons of Buying

While purchasing music on iTunes used to be convenient and cheaper than buying CDs, there are some downsides to buying music downloads today.

One major downside is that you don’t actually own the music files. When you buy a song on iTunes, you’re purchasing a license to listen to that song, but Apple retains the rights to revoke access if they choose. As this Reddit user complains, “I am regretting buying all of my music on iTunes.” If Apple ever shut down the iTunes store in the future, you could lose access to all your purchased music.

In addition, digital music lacks the tangible qualities and artwork of a physical album. Some audiophiles argue that vinyl provides a warmer, more nuanced sound. And unlike an album cover, a digital file lacks visual impact.

There are also limitations around copying and sharing digital files compared to physical media. It can be more difficult to transfer iTunes purchases between devices or give songs to friends.

Finally, subscription streaming services like Spotify now provide unlimited access to music for a monthly fee that’s on par with or less than the per-song cost on iTunes. With streaming you don’t “own” the music either, but you gain access to a much broader catalog of songs.

The Future

The future role of the iTunes store is uncertain. With the rise of music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, sales of digital music downloads have sharply declined. Some speculate that Apple may eventually shut down the iTunes store for music purchases altogether.

According to a post on Reddit (, the iTunes store app may transition to focus more on selling other types of media like movies, TV shows, books, and podcasts rather than music. The music purchasing functionality could be removed from the app entirely.

However, Apple has not yet indicated any plans to shut down music sales in the iTunes store. Some analysts think Apple will keep the store operating to continue to generate revenue from music purchases, even if at lower volumes ( But it seems likely that the importance of the iTunes store for music will continue to diminish over time.


Although iTunes may no longer be the music distribution giant it once was, the iTunes Store continues to allow users to purchase both music and other media. After the arrival of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, digital music sales on iTunes saw a sharp decline. However, iTunes still has an extensive music catalog available for purchase in both individual tracks and full albums. Users can also still buy movies, TV shows, apps, audiobooks, and more on the iTunes Store.

While purchasing downloads may no longer be the norm for music consumption, iTunes still provides value as a central hub for buying and managing media. For users who prefer to own their music or want specific tracks or albums not available on streaming, the iTunes Store allows for cheap and convenient downloads. So while its heyday may have passed, the iTunes Store remains a viable option for purchasing music and entertainment.


The iTunes store has undergone a significant evolution since its early days as the go-to place for digital music downloads. While it continues to sell music, growth in subscription streaming services like Apple Music has reduced the need for most consumers to purchase individual songs or albums. Additionally, the iTunes store faces growing competition from other digital retailers. However, it retains some unique advantages, including tight integration with Apple devices, exclusive content, and ease of use. Looking ahead, the iTunes store seems likely to remain an option for purchasing music, though not as dominant as in the past. Its future role depends on how successfully it adapts to consumer preferences for streaming while playing to its strengths in digital media sales.